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Atheist North Korea has threatened to shoot out the lights of a giant Christmas tree-shaped tower that South Korea plans to illuminate near the tense border.

This is the first line of an article I recently read chronicling the tensions between North and South Korea over the South’s plans to illuminate a 100 ft. tower with lights designed to make it look like a Christmas tree. Apparently, this has been a South Korean tradition until 2003 when they agreed to stop as part of an agreement with the North during a period of relative calm. But tensions have escalated again, so last year they decided to resurrect the tradition. This Christmas they have agreed to let Christian groups erect two more trees.

The North calls the Christmas tree “propaganda” and is upset because it can be seen with the naked eye from the major city of Kaesong. According to a BBC article “[The North Korean capital] Pyongyang has previously accused Seoul of using the tree to spread the Christian message to people inside the atheist state.”

A South Korean Defence Ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, says the decision [to light the tree and allow two more] is meant to help guarantee freedom of expression and religion.

“The Communist North warned its southern enemy of ‘unexpected consequences’ if it went ahead to turn on the lights, saying Seoul would bear the ‘entire responsibilities’. “

This is what atheism looks like. We see it in our own nation all the time. An atheist or atheist group is offended by the public display of a Christian symbol, so they use the courts to bully someone into removing it. There is never any mention that the right they are using to complain, freedom of speech, is the direct result of a Christian worldview and not an atheistic one. North Korea cannot use the courts to demand removal of the tree, so it uses the threat of violence. This whole situation makes it painfully clear that atheism, when lived out consistently, results in a lot of things – but freedom and tolerance are not among them.

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